The steroid receptor coactivator, GRIP-1, is necessary for MEF-2C- dependent gene expression and skeletal muscle differentiation

Shen Liang Chen, Dennis H. Dowhan, Brett M. Hosking, George E.O. Muscat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

128 Scopus citations


Nuclear receptor-mediated activation of transcription involves coactivation by cofactors collectively denoted the steroid receptor coactivators (SRCs). The process also involves the subsequent recruitment of p300/CBP and PCAF to a complex that synergistically regulates transcription and remodels the chromatin. PCAF and p300 have also been demonstrated to function as critical coactivators for the muscle-specific basic helix-loop- helix (bHLH) protein MyoD during myogenic commitment. Skeletal muscle differentiation and the activation of muscle-specific gene expression is dependent on the concerted action of another bHLH factor, myogenin, and the MADS protein, MEF-2, which function in a cooperative manner. We examined the functional role of one SRC, GRIP-1, in muscle differentiation, an ideal paradigm for the analysis of the determinative events that govern the cell's decision to divide or differentiate. We observed that the mRNA encoding GRIP- 1 is expressed in proliferating myoblasts and post-mitotic differentiated myotubes, and that protein levels increase during differentiation. Exogenous/ectopic expression studies with GRIP-1 sense and antisense vectors in myogenic C2C12 cells demonstrated that this SRC is necessary for (1) induction/activation of myogenin, MEF-2, and the crucial cell cycle regulator, p21, and (2) contractile protein expression and myotube formation. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the SRC GRIP-1 coactivates MEF-2C-mediated transcription. GRIP-1 also coactivates the synergistic transactivation of E box-dependent transcription by myogenin and MEF-2C. GST-pulldowns, mammalian two-hybrid analysis, and immunoprecipitation demonstrate that the mechanism involves direct interactions between MEF-2C and GRIP-1 and is associated with the ability of the SRC to interact with the MADS domain of MEF-2C. The HLH region of myogenin mediates the direct interaction of myogenin and GRIP-1. Interestingly, interaction with myogenic factors is mediated by two regions of GRIP-1, an amino-terminal bHLH-PAS region and the carboxy-terminal region between amino acids 1158 and 1423 (which encodes an activation domain, has HAT activity, and interacts with the coactivator-associated arginine methyltransferase). This work demonstrates that GRIP-1 potentiates skeletal muscle differentiation by acting as a critical coactivator for MEF-2C- mediated transactivation and is the first study to ascribe a function to the amino-terminal bHLH-PAS region of SRCs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1209-1228
Number of pages20
JournalGenes and Development
Issue number10
StatePublished - 15 May 2000


  • Gene expression
  • GRIP-1
  • Myogenic cells
  • Skeletal muscle differentiation


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